Imam removed after 'Haider' role, sends legal notice to maker

Srinagar: An Imam, who appeared in a small role in Vishal Bhardwaj's Kashmir-set film 'Haider', has been sacked by the management committee of the mosque over a marriage scene.

Ghulam Hassan Shah claimed he was tricked into performing the 'nikah' scene in the Bollywood film and has now sent a legal notice to Bhardwaj, also the producer of the movie, demanding an apology and Rs 50 lakh in compensation. Shah, a resident of Qazigund in Anantnag district, had been leading the prayers at a mosque in Nowhatta area of the city for the past eight years.

"The management committee of the mosque sacked me... I was tricked as I was told that the footage will be used for educational purposes. I did not know that it was being used in the movie," Shah told PTI today.

The 65-year-old man has engaged a lawyer and sent a legal notice to Bhardwaj. "You had told my client that the footage of the nikah reading ceremony would be used for educational purposes. But you really intended to utilise the footage for 'Haider', which to the least is obnoxious," Shah's lawyer Firdous Ahmad said in the notice.

The notice asks Bhardwaj, 49, to publish an apology in the "national press on at least three occasions if the facts stated in the legal notice are accurate". The notice also demands Bhardwaj to pay Rs 50 lakh in damages to Shah. 'Haider', starring Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon and based on William Shakespeare's tragedy 'Hamlet', is set amidst the early days of militancy in Kashmir. The film hit theatres on October 2 last year.

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